What “never again”? And who were really the other 9 million?
Two questions that all Europeans today have every right to ask, their governments and their media.
Now, on Holocaust Day; Why do we know so little about the 9 million other Europeans who were exterminated in these camps?
Remembering the Holocaust is human, and extremely important, but why do we only remember the part of the victims that were Jews? That the entire Western world ignores the majority of the other victims identities and only talks about the 6 million that were Jews, is downright offensive to the anti-Nazi Democratic Resistance fighters children, grandchildren and relatives. They of course demand that also their sacrifices and losses should be recognized and honored, so the call “never again” can apply also to ideological and socio-economic persecution and annihilation.
It is estimated that over 15 million people died in the 23 largest German extermination camps and the over 1,200 sub-camps, between 1939 and 1945. 6 million were Jews and 9 million were including the Romes, mostly Europeans from Russia, the Baltic States, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. If someone does not want to agree with the figures, still this is the accurate percentage of distribution of deaths. One third were Jews and two thirds were mainly Nazi opponents.
On 27 January 1945 prisoners from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was freed and therefore we honor the memory of the victims with an international Holocaust Day, so that “we shall never forget,” and “never let it happen again”.
But the 9 million people who were murdered and who were not Jews, we have forgotten long ago, and therefore people with democratic views, or so called left-wing views, are today again persecuted. The new civil and human-rights movements and democratic activist groups are discredited and demonized again in Europe, just as they were then. Shouldn’t the Holocaust Day honor the memory of ALL the victims of the Holocaust?
All those who today openly talk against or oppose the EU’s neoliberal colonialism, ie the destruction of civil and human rights and who prefer democracy and justice instead of the political and financial oligarchies, are the ideological descendants of the majority of the non-Jews who were exterminated in the German camps because they were against Nazism.
Then, they were all called “communists”, but very far from all were really Communists. They were classified as that because the Red Army was the one that whipped the Nazis the worst, so all resistance movements in Europe regardless of character were “colored red” by the Nazis. Unfortunately, this incorrect interpretation followed into our days. Not least through the current European media’s auspices, ie, the neo-liberal propaganda machinery. In reality, the resistance movements in Europe then, in their basics, were democratic-patriotic.
Very many of the intellectuals, poets, artists, publishers, writers, resistance fighters and rebels in the fighting, free parts of Europe, were liberals, democrats, socialists and ordinary workers, farmers and villagers who took up arms, primarily as an anti-Nazi and anti-occupation, patriotic act. Yes, even some conservative Nazi opponents, were among the 9 million non-Jewish victims. It was about people who simply were not willing to handover their country and themselves to Hitler without a fight, and this was by far the most common driving force for joining the resistance movements then.
Greece was the first liberated nation, in August 10, 1944, by EAM/ELAS themselves and without support of either the Allies or the Soviets, who finally forced the Nazis out of the country. In fact the only country in all of Europe where Jews, on massive scale, really could fight the Nazis was in the Greek resistance ELAS. And thousands of Greek Jews did this too.
The largest and most effective real resistance against the Nazis during World War 2 was actually not the allied armies in Europe, because they got quite whipped the first three years of the war. The English Army which was used to colonize so their strategy was to fight an “imperial war” also on European ground instead of fighting a “liberation war”. An imperial war is slow and demands a takeover of the infrastructure, the resources and the administration of the country. Therefore the resistance movements in Eastern Europe, Greece, France, Belgium and Norway, that in some cases were working together with Allie units, and in other cases with the Red Army, was the most effective and real resistance against the Nazis throughout the war. And it is precisely this development that today’s neoliberals, conservatives and neo-Nazis want to strangle before the democratic forces have time to organize themselves in a genuine and effective liberation struggle again, just like then. Therefore in today’s Holocaust Day they will once again shamefully smooth over the 9 million victims who were non-Jews.
In accordance with the time-spirit however, the Nazi and the European and American financial elite’s “communist paranoia”, formed the basis for the Western European public opinion of these resistance movements, so “communists” became the collective name for Nazi resistance in Europe, whether they were communists or not. This grotesque generalization is made also today, by the extreme right, the right-wing conservatives and the neoliberals, and has been ever since 1945. To the extent that the European Parliaments and the European media today have adapted themselves to this fascist logic. Being a democrat and actively defend the civil and human rights and justice, is seen as being “seditious” by the EU-oligarchy’s parliaments.
So now, when Europe and Germany once again become the continent of the Nazi ideology and its warmongering is spread again, it is of crucial importance that each and one of us dares to stand tall and raise the specific issues from the headline. In particular, when the neoliberal, neo-Nazi propaganda is never going to do it. Not since 1939 has the so creepy concordant German-European policy and the European media been such an obvious instigator of increased racism, social fragmentation, poverty, civilian massacres, civil wars, genocide and war crimes. Libya, Greece, Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, are some of the examples. Of those only Greece has avoided war… So far.
I am certainly not alone in calling for few further questions concerning the Holocaust day, alongside the European, Brussels and Berlin-run, media apparatus. Such as:
- Why does today’s European citizens so easily accept policies, economic models and media propaganda that so obviously gives birth to Nazism, fascism and racism?
- What real actions is the civil society in Europe today taking, so that Muslims and the by the European media designated scapegoats, should not experience the same terror the Jews and the Nazi-resisting Europeans did during the late 30’s and the 40’s in Europe?
- Who were really the 9 million non-Jews who were exterminated during the 2nd World War and why these?
About root causes and basic reasons to the refugee crisis and terrorism
Today the entire world is in mourning after the attacks in Paris – Today 60 million human beings are displaced by war and extreme poverty.
When exactly does the continuous hypocrisy of the leading western governments become disgusting and extremely offensive? It has to be when their media, and not our ability to think for ourselves, decides what we should get shocked and outraged about and what we should ignore and look away from.
The governments in many European countries are responding to the refugee crisis and the terror attacks as their obvious values and principles suggests, with racist hysteria and policies backed by police and military aggressivity under martial law. The western public opinion must finally dare to dismiss and look beyond the monotonous, hackneyed western tale about evil dictators and terrorists, their local conflicts and the benevolent, “good and helpful” western, democratic genies.
One could read in the Independent a month ago: “Refugees have been seeking safe haven in the West for years. Recently, however, something has changed. Thousands have become millions, as nation after nation succumbs to anarchy and fanaticism”.
The basic reasons to why they succumb to fanaticism is really never satisfactory explained, besides the western tale about the cruel, local dictators and fundamentalist terrorists that hates western freedom. Facts are left out of the mainstream reporting: the role of criminal wars, disastrous neoliberal economics, and why mass displacement is a permanent feature under this system. Things are never really explained because in accordance with the western, self-glorifying supremacy dogma, the leading western governments don’t need to explain or admit any real responsibilities to the nations their precursors and themselves have teared apart.
Root causes are hidden within the western supremacy policies
Enforced neoliberal, strategic and economic “development plans” that tie the shattered nations and their people’s hands and feet to these same western governments, has clearly nothing to do with either refugees or global terrorism. Because when the neoliberal economists and ministers again have concluded Thatcher’s “TINA-doctrine”, “there is no alternative”, good people understand that so they kneel, suffer and die quietly. Only bad, evil people doesn’t accept and even have the nerves to resist the genocidal conditions and the “necessary human costs” of the western, private bank and cartel labelled “development plans”.
So instead of taking the opportunity to announce real responsibilities, the western leaders talk about French, American and western noble values and principles. As if we are stupid and can’t see for ourselves which distorted and spineless kind of “nobleness” they mean. And how hideously, greedy, racist and hypocritical they practice their alleged values and principles.
History proves that practically ALL ethnic cleansings, genocides, civil wars and wars in the regions that refugees currently flee from, was caused, instigated, provoked and often actually organized by the main European colonial and postcolonial Powers. These western, imperialist geostrategic and geopolitical sentiments, policies and methods has been kept alive and nurtured through “life support” (conservatism, militarism) and in “greenhouses”(secret societies, fascist dictatorships) by old imperialists, royalists and various European and American nationalsocialist and fascist movements.
With the new century and the continuation of the monotonous, neoliberal policies, this has escalated into conditions that I believe we all had hoped to never again experience.
Why is this still happening, you might ask?
Because the warmongering Conservatives, Christian Right and Extreme Right, in the leading European nations, are longing for a “crusade” that they believe would re-establish their colonial control and power. But this time over the entire world. They have emerged through the two World Wars from the rivalling old European Empires & Kingdoms*1 and their financial, clergy and military elite. [*1 – Before 1918 they were named Austro-Hungarian Empire, German Empire, French Republic, Kingdom of Italy, British Empire, USA].
“The European basic values and principles are said to have been inspired and adopted from Greek culture, history, thinking and literature, but European history quite clearly proves that in practice it is the three German Reich’s that has shaped the actual basic values and principles of the European societies. From the ninth century and onward, no other culture has determined the entire continent’s fate as much as those three German dynasties.
Almost all the genocides, civil wars and wars in post-Roman, European history are direct results of the three dynasties that these men established.
- Charlemagne or Charles the Great – 9th century – 1st Reich or the “the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation” lasted ca 800 years
- Vilhelm I – 19th century – 2nd Reich or “Hohenzollern Germany” lasted ca 50 years
- Adolf Hitler – 20th century – 3rd Reich or “Nazi-Germany” lasted 13 years
These dynasties escorted and pushed the European folk-spirit into the darkest, most corrupt, perverted “caves” of human thinking and human emotional life. To such extent that its rulers with their cultural-ideological “offspring” could start the Crusades, the Catholic Inquisition, the Thirty Year’s War, The Balkan Wars and two World Wars. Two world wars that in their actual essence were triggered and launched to prevent any possibility of a feared European peoples rebellion against the Royals, the imperialists, their court’s and “Mammon’s” tyrannic dogmas and doctrines. This is highly relevant to what the current EU and US are triggering again and why.
These old colonial/neoliberal policies, strategies, tactics and methods of the western powers, must finally be fully exposed, debated and perceived by the independent media as the root causes and basic reasons for both terrorism and refugee crises.
Ever since the term “War on Terror” (WoT) was first used by George W Bush September 20, 2001 we have seen increasing wars, civil wars, massacres, ethnic cleansings and hordes of refugees fleeing from the affected regions. We can all easily conclude that we find ourselves in a far more unstable and dangerous world now than before 9/11, 2001. A long and unsuccessful campaign, allegedly to destroy al-Qaeda and other militant Islamist organizations, has brought the world to the brink of WWIII.
Barack Obama, changed the interpretation and meaning of the term “War on Terror” in 2013 from a general war tactic to a specified and targeted one. He stated, “We must define our effort not as a boundless ‘Global War on Terror’, but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America”. After 12 years of general US/NATO/mercenary-terror in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen, after the crude dehumanization and demonization of entire folk groups and social classes and after the attack on western human and civil rights, he doesn’t need to clarify WoT or specify targets. He and the western leaders need to answer humanity on these questions now:
- WHO is going to take real responsibility for the dramatic “mistakes” and the clear deliberate crimes of 12 years of US-led, ghost-chasing campaigns, that has left millions of innocent, dead bodies around Asia, the Middle East and Africa?
- WHO is going to take real responsibility, for the current ca 7 million refugees from these countries that are fleeing to the west and the 60 million that are displaced?
- WHO is going to take real responsibility for the root causes and the basic reasons for terror attacks carried out in Middle Eastern and western cities?
To nuance the self-righteous, western citizen’s exaggerated self-image as a democratic philanthropist a bit, I am pointing out, that the practically unchallenged, but very real, geopolitical and geostrategic goals of Bush’s WoT-campaign and Obama’s interpretation of the same are:
- to deduct pipelines, control trade routes and take over the geographical regions between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, because they are rich on natural resources and energy sources.
- to clear the area from large populations of its inhabitants for the long planned geostrategic moves of USA, EU, Israel and NATO against Iran, Arab world, Russia and China.
- to destroy every labour law that the American and European democratic, solidarity-, liberty-, human rights- and labour-movements have achieved since the end of the nineteenth century. It is about tearing down the workers rights, minimum wages, health care, social insurances, pensions and instead encourage and establish a pure “peon and slave market” to replace the labor markets.
- to destroy the last basic democratic principles, constitutions, human rights, international laws, treaties and conventions and instead gradually reform and legislate a totalitarian and ruthless control-state against the people, “to avoid chaos and protect us from terrorists”.
The average European and American citizen meanwhile, have just hovered around “in the blue”, day-dreaming of riches, never-ending pleasures and fame. He have been polishing on his narcissism, his megalomania, his supremacy tale and his racism, while his government is committing criminal act after criminal act against other nations and people’s.
There is no hope for any real positive change, unless the American and European citizens learn to mourn also the others’ innocent dead.
Most people around the world have come to the very logical conclusion, that the countries and governments that are so keen on causing all these problems, due to their neoliberal, geostrategic aims, should also take the main responsibility for the refugees and the root causes behind them. They see, even if they don’t dare to speak out, that USA/EU/NATO measures, policies and actions are state-sanctioned terror against other nations and against its own populations.
The known Wall Street-, White House-, Downing Street- and Brussels/Berlin-cooked, criminal strategies, tactics and methods that the western media defends, justifies, white-washes and cover up, over the last fifteen years are:
- false flag operations (blame a spectacular terror act on other than the actual perpetrator, to provoke revolution, civil war or war – usually intelligence-engineered and organized)
- financial terrorism (CIA-agents forces neo-colonial “treaties and agreements” on a nation. They offer financial “help” through extortion, imposing debts to takeover physical wealth and natural resources of a nation)
- “colour revolutions” (western intelligence services carries out grass roots-takeover actions with NGO-organized fake revolutions, known as colour revolutions, in order to distort and divide any democratic attempts and demands of the people in a nation (Libya, Ukraine and Syria are just few such examples)
- covert, regime change operations in sovereign nations
- arming and training of dictators, torturers and death squads that carries out mass arrests, interrogations by torture, political assassinations, mass killings and ethnic cleansings
- provocating and causing “convenient” civil wars by US-mercenary led massacres (Libya, Syria, Kenya, Ukraine)
- illegal wars (sanctions and invasions of nations based on lies – Iraq, Libya)
- proxy wars (military aggression on commission – others than own army are fighting ones war)
- soft coups (infiltration and corruption of a whole political elite in a nation, that can lead to democratic meltdown in that nation)
- military coups (when geostrategic or geopolitical US policies are unpopular and resisted)
It is disgraceful, that these criminal strategies, tactics and methods, are not perceived as the main root causes and basic reasons behind the current refugee and terror situation.
Now when crocodile tears are shed by our leaders for the refugees and TV-monkeys in reality are dishonoring the terror victims and their families’ mourning, we must dare to really honor both them, as well as any other innocent victims on this planet. We must therefore openly direct questions about the true Basic Reasons and Root Causes, and we must demand real responsibilities for their crimes from our governments.
There is no hope for any real positive change, unless the American and European citizens learn to mourn also the others’ innocent dead, and to condemn also the terror acts of their own leaders.
Except intro-text, epilogue and translation to English, which I added to the original, this is a videoclip from the show on the Greek TV-channel Alfpha, Ελληνοφρένεια 16-11-15
“This short video clip gives a human angle to the hysteria ‘enveloping’ the “Paris Attacks”, and urges the global, Public Opinion to THINK. It breathes decency, reverence and respect for also the others´ grief, pain and suffering. – This is “Ellinofreneia’s” very simple way to display things in its right perspectives – Perpectives that, as opposed to the the current genocidal, warmongering, ARE compatable with a Human Civilization.”
Most reasonable people around the world have come to the very rational and logical conclusion, that the nations and the Governments that are “so keen on” causing all this suffering and deaths – because of their geopolitical and geostrategic urges and goals – should exactly therefore take the main legal, moral, political, economic and social responsibility for the refugees and the ROOT CAUSES behind the phenomnons that create them.
There is truly no hope for any real PEACE, unless the European and American citizens learn to mourn also the others’ innocent dead,… and to be shocked and outraged also by the terror acts of THEIR OWN governments.
07.26.2015 :: Analysis
Introduction: The Greek people’s efforts to end the economic depression, recover their sovereignty and reverse the regressive socio-economic policies, which have drastically reduced living standards, have been thrice denied.
First, the denial came as tragedy: When the Greek majority elected Syriza to government and their debts increased, the economy plunged further into depression and unemployment and poverty soared. The Greek people voted for Syriza believing its promises of ‘a new course’. Immediately following their victory, Syriza reneged on their promise to restore sovereignty – and end the subjugation of the Greek people to the economic dictates of overseas bankers, bureaucrats and political oligarchs. Instead Syriza kept Greece in the oligarchical imperialist bloc, portraying the European Union as an association of independent sovereign countries. What began as a great victory of the Greek people turned into a tragic strategic retreat. >From their first day in office, Syriza led the Greek people down the blind alley of total submission to the German empire.
Then the tragedy turned into farce when the Greek people refused to acknowledge the impending betrayal by their elected leaders. They were stunned, but mute, as Syriza emptied the Greek treasury and offered even greater concessions, including acceptance of the illegal and odious debts incurred by private bankers, speculators and political kleptocrats in previous regimes.
True to their own vocation as imperial overlords, the EU bosses saw the gross servility of Syriza as an invitation to demand more concessions – total surrender to perpetual debt peonage and mass impoverishment. Syriza’s demagogic leaders, Yanis Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras, shifting from fits of hysteria to infantile egotism, denounced ‘the Germans and their blackmail’ and then performed a coy belly-crawl at the feet of the ‘Troika’, peddling their capitulation to the bankers as ‘negotiations’ and referring to their overlords as . . . ‘partners’.
Syriza, in office for only 5 months brought Greece to the edge of total bankruptcy and surrender, then launched the ‘mother of all deceptions’ on the Greek people: Tsipras convoked a ‘referendum’ on whether Greece should reject or accept further dictates and cuts to bare bones destitution. Over 60% of the Greek people voted a resounding NO to further plunder and poverty.
In Orwellian fashion, the megalomaniac Tsipras immediately re-interpreted the ‘NO’vote as a mandate to capitulation to the imperial powers, accepting the EU bankers’ direct supervision of the regime’s implementation of Troika’s policies – including drastic reductions of Greek pensions, doubling the regressive ‘VAT’ consumption tax on vital necessities and a speed-up of evictions of storeowners and householders behind in their mortgage payments. Thus Greece became a vassal state: Nineteenth century colonialism was re-imposed in the 21st century.
Colonialism by Invitation
Greek politicians, whether Conservative or Socialist, have openly sought to join the German-led imperial bloc known as the European Union, even when it was obvious that the Greek economy and financial system was vulnerable to domination by the powerful German ruling class.
From the beginning, the Greek Panhellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) and their Conservative counterparts refused to recognize the class basis of the European Union. Both political factions and the Greek economic elites, that is, the kleptocrats who governed and the oligarchs who ruled, viewed entry into the EU as an opportunity for taking and faking loans, borrowing, defaulting and passing their enormous debts on to the public treasury!
Widely circulating notions among the Left that ‘Germany is responsible’ for the Greek crisis are only half true, while the accusations among rightwing financial scribes that the ‘Greek people are spendthrifts’ who brought on their own crisis is equally one-sided. The reality is more complex:
The crash and collapse of the Greek economy was a product of an entrenched parasitic rentier ruling class –both Socialist and Conservative – which thrived on borrowing at high interest rates and speculating in non-productive economic activities while imposing an astronomical military budget. They engaged in fraudulent overseas financial transactions while grossly manipulating and fabricating financial data to cover-up Greece’s unsustainable trade and budget deficits.
German and other EU exporters had penetrated and dominated the Greek markets. The bankers charged exorbitant interest rates while investors exploited cheap Greek labor. The creditors ignored the obvious risks because Greek rulers were their willing accomplices in the ongoing pillage.
Clearly entry into and continued membership in the EU has largely benefited two groups of elites: the German rulers and the Greek rentiers: The latter received short-term financial grants and transfers while the former gained powerful levers over the banks, markets and, most important, established cultural-ideological hegemony over the Greek political class. The Greek elite and middle class believed ‘they were Europeans’ – that the EU was a beneficent arrangement and a source of prosperity and upward mobility. In reality, Greek leaders were merely accomplices to the German conquest of Greece. And the major part of the middle class aped the views of the Greek elite.
The financial crash of 2008-2009 ended the illusions for some but not most Greeks. After 6 years of pain and suffering a new version of the old political class came to power: Syriza! Syriza brought in new faces and rhetoric but operated with the same blind commitment to the EU. The Syriza leadership believed they were “partners”.
The road to vassalage is rooted deep in the psyche of the political class. Instead of recognizing their subordinate membership in the EU as the root cause of their crisis, they blamed ‘the Germans, the bankers, Angela Merkel, Wolfgang Schnauble , the IMF, the Troika… The Greek rulers and middle class were in fact both victims and accomplices.
The German imperial regime loaned money from the tax revenues of German workers to enable their complicit Greek vassals to pay back the German bankers… German workers complained. The German media deflected criticism by blaming the ‘lazy Greek cheats’. Meanwhile, the Greek oligarch-controlled media deflected criticism of the role of the parasitical political class back to the ‘Germans’. This all served to obscure the class dynamics of empire building — colonialism by invitation. The ideology of blaming peoples, instead of classes, is pitting German workers against Greek employees and pensioners. The German masses support their bankers, while the Greek masses have elected and followed Syriza – their traitors.
From Andreas Papandreou to Alexis Tsipras: Misconceptions about the European Union
After Syriza was elected a small army of instant experts, mostly leftist academics from Canada, the US and Europe, sprang up to write and speak, usually with more heat than light, on current Greek political and economic developments. Most have little knowledge or experience of Greek politics, particularly its history and relations with the EU over the past thirty five years.
The most important policy decisions shaping the current Syriza government’s betrayal of Greek sovereignty go back to the early 1980’s when I was working as an adviser to PASOK Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou. At that time, I was party to an internal debate of whether to continue within the EU or leave. Papandreou was elected on an anti EU, anti NATO platform, which, like Tsipras, he promptly reneged on– arguing that ‘there were no alternatives’. Even then, there were international and Greek academic sycophants, as there are today, who argued that membership in the EU was the only realistic alternative- it was the ‘only possibility’. The ‘possibilistas” at that time, operating either from ignorance or deceit, were full of bluster and presumption. They denied the underlying power realities in the structure of the EU and dismissed the class capacity of the working and popular masses to forge an alternative. Then, as now, it was possible to develop independent alternative relations with Europe, Russia, China, the Middle East and North Africa. The advantages of maintaining a protected market, a robust tourist sector and an independent monetary system were evident and did not require EU membership (or vassalage).
Above all, what stood out in both leaders, Andreas Papandreou and Alexis Tsipras, was their profound misconception of the class nature of the dominant forces in the EU. In the 1980’s Germany was just beginning to recover its imperial reach. By the time Syriza-Tsipras rose to power (January 2015), Germany’s imperial power was undeniable. Tsipras’ misunderstanding of this reality can be attributed to his and his ‘comrades’ rejection of class and imperial analyses. Even academic Marxists, who spouted Marxist theory, never applied their abstract critiques of capitalism and imperialism to the concrete realities of German empire building and Greece’s quasi-colonial position within the EU. They viewed their role as that of ‘colonial reformers’ –imagining that they were clever enough to ‘negotiate’ better terms in the German-centered EU. They inevitably failed because Berlin had a built-in majority among its fervently neo-liberal ex-communist satellites plus the IMF, French and English imperial partners. Syriza was no match for this power configuration. Then there was the bizarre delusion among the Syriza intellectuals that European capitalism was more benign than the US version.
EU membership has created scaffolding for German empire-building. The take off point was West Germany’s annexation of East Germany. This was soon followed by the incorporation of the rightwing regimes in the Baltic and Balkans as subordinate members of the EU – their public assets were snapped up by Germany corporations at bargain prices. The third step was the systematic break-up of Yugoslavia and the incorporation of Slovenia into the German orbit. The fourth step was the takeover of key sectors of the Polish and Czech economies and the exploitation of cheap skilled labor from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and other satellite states.
Without firing a shot, German empire-building has revolved around making loans and financial transfers to the new subordinate member states in the EU. These financial transactions were predicated upon the following conditions: 1) Privatization and sale of the new member states’ prized public assets to mainly German as well as other EU investors and 2) Forcing member states to dismantle their social programs, approve massive lay-offs and meet impossible fiscal targets. In other words, expansion of the contemporary German empire required austerity measures, which transformed the ex-communist countries into satellites, vassals and sources of mercenaries – a pattern which is now playing out in Greece.
The reason these new German ‘colonies’ (especially Poland and the Baltic States) insist on the EU imposing harsh austerity measures on Greece, is that they went through the same brutal process convincing their own beleaguered citizens that there was no alternative – resistance was futile. Any successful demonstration by Greek workers, farmers and employees that resistance to empire was possible would expose the corrupt relationship between these client leaders and the German imperial order. In order to preserve the foundations of the new imperial order, Germany has had to take a hardline on Greece. Otherwise the recently incorporated colonial subjects in the Baltic, Balkan and Central Europe states might “re-think” the brutal terms of their own incorporation to the European Union. This explains the openly punitive approach to Greece – turning it into the ‘Haiti of Europe’ analogous to the US’ long standing brutalization of the rebellious Haitians – as an object lesson to its own Caribbean and Latin American clients.
The root cause of German intransigence has nothing to do with the political personalities or quirks of Angela Merkle and Wolfgang Schnauble: Such imperial leaders do not operate out of neurotic vindictiveness. Their demand for total Greek submission is an imperative of German empire-building, a continuation of the step-by-step conquest of Europe.
German empire-building emphasizes economic conquests, which go hand-in-hand with US empire-building based on military conquests. The same economic satellites of Germany also serve as sites for US military bases and exercises encircling Russia; these vassal states provide mercenary soldiers for US imperial wars in South Asia, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
Syriza’s economic surrender is matched by its spineless sell-out to NATO, its support of sanctions against Russia and its embrace of US policies toward Syria, Lebanon and Israel.
Germany and its imperial partners have launched a savage attack on the working people of Greece, usurping Greek sovereignty and planning to seize 50 billion Euros of vital Greek public enterprises, land and resources. This alone should dispels the myth, promoted especially by the French social democratic demagogue Jacques Delores, that European capitalism is a benign form of ‘social welfarism’ and an ‘alternative’ to the savage Anglo-American version capitalism.
What has been crucial to previous and current versions of empire-building is the role of a political collaborator class facilitating the transition to colonialism. Here is where social democrats, like Alexis Tsipras, who excel in the art of talking left while embracing the right, flatter and deceive the masses into deepening austerity and pillage.
Instead of identifying the class enemies within the EU and organizing an alternative working class program, Tsipras and his fellow collaborators pose as EU ‘partners’ , fostering class collaboration – better to serve imperial Europe: When the German capitalists demanded their interest payments, Tsipras bled the Greek economy. When German capitalists sought to dominate Greek markets, Tsipras and Syriza opened the door by keeping Greece in the EU. When German capital wanted to supervise the take-over of Greek properties, Tsipras and Syriza embraced the sell-off.
There is clear class collaboration within the Greek elite in the destruction of nation’s sovereignty: Greek banker oligarchs and sectors of the commercial and tourist elite have acted as intermediaries of the German empire builders and they personally benefit from the German and EU takeover despite the destitution of the Greek public. Such economic intermediaries, representing 25% of the electorate, have become the main political supporters of the Syriza-Tsipras betrayal. They join with the EU elite applauding Tsipras’ purge of left critics and his authoritarian seizure of legislative and executive power! This collaborator class will never suffer from pension cuts, layoffs and unemployment. They will never have to line up at crippled banks for a humiliating dole of 65 Euros of pension money. These collaborators have hundreds of thousands and millions stashed in overseas bank accounts and invested in overseas real estate. Unlike the Greek masses, they are ‘European’ first and foremost – willing accomplices of German empire builders!
Tragic Beginnings: The Greek People Elect a Trojan Horse
Syriza is deeply rooted in Greek political culture .A leadership of educated mascots serving overseas European empire-builders. Syriza is supported by academic leftists who are remote from the struggles, sacrifices and suffering of the Greek masses. Syriza’s leadership emerged on the scene as ideological mentors and saviors with heady ideas and shaky hands. They joined forces with downwardly mobile middle class radicals who aspired to rise again via the traditional method: radical rhetoric, election to office, negotiations and transactions with the local and foreign elite and betrayal of their voters. Theirs is a familiar political road to power, privilege and prestige. In this regard, Tsipras personifies an entire generation of upwardly mobile opportunists, willing and able to sellout Greece and its people. He perpetuates the worst political traditions: In campaigns he promoted consumerism over class consciousness (discarding any mobilization of the masses upon election!). He is a useful fool, embedded in a culture of clientelism, kleptocracy, tax evasion, predatory lenders and spenders – the very reason his German overlords tolerated him and Syriza, although on a short leash!
Tsipras’ Syriza has absolute contempt for democracy. He embraces the ‘Caudillo Principle’: one man, one leader, one policy! Any dissenters invite dismissal!
Syriza has utterly submitted to imperial institutions, the Troika and their dictates, NATO and above all the EU, the Eurozone. Tsipras/ Syriza reject outright independence and freedom from imperial dictates. In his ‘capitulation to the Germans’ Tsipra engaged in histrionic theatrics, but by his own personal dictate, the massive ‘NO to EU’ vote was transformed into a YES.
The cruelest political crime of all has been Tsipras running down the Greek economy, bleeding the banks, emptying the pension funds and freezing everyday salaries while ‘blaming the bankers’, in order to force the mass of Greeks to accept the savage dictates of his imperial overlords or face utter destitution!
The Ultimate Surrender
Tsipras and his sycophants in Syriza, while constantly decrying Greece’s subordination to the EU empire-builders and claiming victimhood, managed to undermine the Greek people’s national consciousness in less than 6 months. What had been a victorious referendum and expression of rejection by three-fifths of the Greek voters turned into a prelude to a farcical surrender by empire collaborators. The people’s victory in the referendum was twisted to represent popular support for a Caudillo. While pretending to consult the Greek electorate, Tsipras manipulated the popular will into a mandate for his regime to push Greece beyond debt peonage and into colonial vassalage.
Tsipras is a supreme representation of Adorno’s authoritarian personality: On his knees to those above him, while at the throat of those below.
Once he has completed his task of dividing, demoralizing and impoverishing the Greek majority, the local and overseas ruling elites will discard him like a used condom, and he will pass into history as a virtuoso in deceiving and betraying the Greek people.
Syriza’s embrace of hard-right foreign policies should not be seen as the ‘result of outside pressure’, as its phony left supporters have argued, but rather a deliberate choice. So far, the best example of the Syriza regime’s reactionary policies is its signing of a military agreement with Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post (July 19, 2015), the Greek Defense Minister signed a mutual defense and training agreement with Israel, which included joint military exercises. Syriza has even backed Israel’s belligerent position against the Islamic Republic of Iran, endorsing Tel Aviv’s ridiculous claim that Teheran represents a terrorist threat in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Syriza and Israel have inked a mutual military support pact that exceeds any other EU member agreement with Israel and is only matched in belligerence by Washington’s special arrangements with the Zionist regime.
Israel’s ultra-militarist ‘Defense’ Minister Moshe Yaalon, (the Butcher of Gaza), hailed the agreement and thanked the Syriza regime for ‘its support’. It is more than likely that Syriza’s support for the Jewish state explains its popularity with Anglo-American and Canadian ‘left’ Zionists…
Syriza’s strategic ties with Israel are not the result of EU ‘pressure’ or the dictates of the ‘Troika’. The agreement is a radical reversal of over a half-century of Greek support for the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people against the Israeli terrorist state. This military pact, like the Syriza regime’s economic capitulation to the German ruling class, is deeply rooted in the ‘colonial ideology’, which permeates Tsipras’ policies. He has taken Greece a significant step ‘forward’ from economic vassal to a mercenary client of the most retrograde regime in the Mediterranean.
According to mainstream media, the current economic crisis in Greece is due to the government spending too much money on its people that it went broke. This claim however, is a lie. It was the banks that wrecked the country so oligarchs and international corporations could benefit.
Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can’t pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?
Except that it is a big fat lie … not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.
Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.
In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government and deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt so that oligarchs and international corporations can profit from the ensuing chaos and misery.
If you are a fan of mafia movies, you know how the mafia would take over a popular restaurant. First, they would do something to disrupt the business – stage a murder at the restaurant or start a fire. When the business starts to suffer, the Godfather would generously offer some money as a token of friendship. In return, Greasy Thumb takes over the restaurant’s accounting, Big Joey is put in charge of procurement, and so on. Needless to say, it’s a journey down a spiral of misery for the owner who will soon be broke and, if lucky, alive.
Now, let’s map the mafia story to international finance in four stages.
Stage 1: The first and foremost reason that Greece got into trouble was the “Great Financial Crisis” of 2008 that was the brainchild of Wall Street and international bankers. If you remember, banks came up with an awesome idea of giving subprime mortgages to anyone who can fog a mirror. They then packaged up all these ticking financial bombs and sold them as “mortgage-backed securities” at a huge profit to various financial entities in countries around the world.
A big enabler of this criminal activity was another branch of the banking system, the group of rating agencies – S&P, Fitch and Moody’s – who gave stellar ratings to these destined-to-fail financial products. Unscrupulous politicians such as Tony Blair got paid by Big Banks to peddle these dangerous securities to pension funds and municipalities and countries around Europe. Banks and Wall Street gurus made hundreds of billions of dollars in this scheme.
But this was just Stage 1 of their enormous scam. There was much more profit to be made in the next three stages!
Stage 2 is when the financial time bombs exploded. Commercial and investment banks around the world started collapsing in a matter of weeks. Governments at local and regional level saw their investments and assets evaporate. Chaos everywhere!
Vultures like Goldman Sachs and other big banks profited enormously in three ways: one, they could buy other banks such as Lehman brothers and Washington Mutual for pennies on the dollar. Second, more heinously, Goldman Sachs and insiders such as John Paulson (who recently donated $400 million to Harvard) had made bets that these securities would blow up. Paulson made billions, and the media celebrated his acumen. (For an analogy, imagine the terrorists betting on 9/11 and profiting from it.) Third, to scrub salt in the wound, the big banks demanded a bailout from the very citizens whose lives the bankers had ruined! Bankers have chutzpah. In the U.S., they got hundreds of billions of dollars from the taxpayers and trillions from the Federal Reserve Bank which is nothing but a front group for the bankers.
In Greece, the domestic banks got more than $30 billion of bailout from the Greek people. Let that sink in for a moment – the supposedly irresponsible Greek government had to bail out the hardcore capitalist bankers.
Stage 3 is when the banks force the government to accept massive debts. For a biology metaphor, consider a virus or a bacteria. All of them have unique strategies to weaken the immune system of the host. One of the proven techniques used by the parasitic international bankers is to downgrade the bonds of a country. And that’s exactly what the bankers did, starting at the end of 2009. This immediately makes the interest rates (“yields”) on the bonds go up, making it more and more expensive for the country to borrow money or even just roll over the existing bonds.
From 2009 to mid-2010, the yields on 10-year Greek bonds almost tripled! This cruel financial assault brought the Greek government to its knees, and the banksters won their first debt deal of a whopping 110 billion Euros.
The banks also control the politics of nations. In 2011, when the Greek prime minister refused to accept a second massive bailout, the banks forced him out of the office and immediately replaced him with the Vice President of ECB (European Central Bank)! No elections needed. Screw democracy. And what would this new guy do? Sign on the dotted line of every paperwork that the bankers bring in.
(By the way, the very next day, the exact same thing happened in Italy where the Prime Minister resigned, only to be replaced by a banker/economist puppet. Ten days later, Spain had a premature election where a banker puppet won the election).
The puppet masters had the best month ever in November 2011.
Few months later, in 2012, the exact bond market manipulation was used when the banksters turned up the Greek bonds’ yields to 50%!!! This financial terrorism immediately had the desired effect: The Greek parliament agreed to a second massive bailout, even larger than the first one.
Now, here is another fact that most people don’t understand. The loans are not just simple loans like you would get from a credit card or a bank. These are loans come with very special strings attached that demand privatization of a country’s assets. If you have seen Godfather III, you would remember Hyman Roth, the investor who was carving up Cuba among his friends. Replace Hyman Roth with Goldman Sachs or IMF (International Monetary Fund) or ECB, and you get the picture.
Stage 4: Now, the rape and humiliation of a nation begin under the name of “austerity” or “structural reforms.” For the debt that was forced upon it, Greece had to sell many of its profitable assets to oligarchs and international corporations. And privatizations are ruthless, involving everything and anything that is profitable. In Greece, privatization included water, electricity, post offices, airport services, national banks, telecommunication, port authorities (which is huge in a country that is a world leader in shipping) etc. Of course, the ever-manipulative bankers always demand immediate privatization of all media which means that the country gets photogenic TV anchors who spew establishment propaganda every day and tell the people that crooked and greedy banksters are saviors; and slavery under austerity is so much better than the alternative.
In addition to that, the banker tyrants also get to dictate every single line item in the government’s budget. Want to cut military spending? NO! Want to raise tax on the oligarchs or big corporations? NO! Such micro-management is non-existent in any other creditor-debtor relationship.
So what happens after privatization and despotism under bankers? Of course, the government’s revenue goes down and the debt increases further. How do you “fix” that? Of course, cut spending! Lay off public workers, cut minimum wage, cut pensions (same as our social security), cut public services, and raise taxes on things that would affect the 99% but not the 1%. For example, pension has been cut in half and sales tax increase to more than 20%. All these measures have resulted in Greece going through a financial calamity that is worse than the Great Depression of the U.S. in the 1930s.
After all this, what is the solution proposed by the heartless bankers? Higher taxes! More cuts to the pension! It takes a special kind of a psychopath to put a country through austerity, an economic holocaust.
If every Greek person had known the truth about austerity, they wouldn’t have fallen for this. Same goes for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other countries going through austerity. The sad aspect of all this is that these are not unique strategies. Since World War II, these predatory practices have been used countless times by the IMF and the World Bank in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
This is the essence of the New World Order — a world owned by a handful of corporations and banks; a world that is full of obedient, powerless debt serfs.
So, it’s time for the proud people of Greece to rise up like Zeus and say NO (“OXI” in Greece) to the greedy puppet masters, unpatriotic oligarchs, parasitic bankers and corrupt politicians.
Dear Greece, know that the world is praying for you and rooting for you. This weekend, vote NO to austerity. Say YES to freedom, independence, self-government, sovereignty, and democracy. Go to the polls this weekend and give a resounding, clear victory for the 99% in Greece, Europe, and the entire western world.
ATHENIANVOICE – the democratic, liberation struggle – and the ‘basic democratic principles’ that every oligarch and tyrant fear
(this text is also the first part of the introduction to my site)
ATHENIANVOICE is one Athenian voice, which means a voice that have its cultural and traditional roots in modern Athens and its intellectual, philosophical and spiritual “footrest”, in the fundamental classic Athenian democratic values and principles. In particular those principles that are “comfortably forgotten” by everyone, ever since. Namely its:
- principle of, citizens rights to anarchic resistance, disobedience and organization of non-cooperative solidarity-actions against cruel monarchy, oligarchy, dictatorship and tyranny
- principle of, immediate recall of an elected official if his actions are against the public good and against his obligations to the people
- principle of, personal accountability before the supreme court for all elected officials when suspected for illegal, negligent or endangering handling of public affairs and the finances of the republic – also retroactively, if suspected of corruption, theft or treason, or even the intent of such activities
There are a number of such basic democratic principles that are universally ignored today, by all “democratic governments”. Principles, that we know was considered so fundamental in ancient democratic Athens, that they had to be expressed as practiced citizens rights before all the others. Those mentioned here and many more were meant to work as security locks of democracy itself in order to avoid corruption, infiltration and oligarchy.
Without disgracing my ancestors’, my people’s and my family’s struggles and sacrifices and my own dignity and self-respect, I can’t accept any of the plutocratic, oligarchic republics as actual democracies. Simply because they aren’t and have never been.
Democracy is either benefiting the whole people’s basic needs and rights and its common good, or it is not a democracy at all. Today everyone mistake the “practice of voting”, just one and very limited practical democratic tool, to be the entirety of democracy itself.
I am truly sorry that I need to explain to so many self proclaimed democrats every now and then, that the citizens in ancient Greece did not fight the Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian Wars in order to achieve or defend a shitty one-time-vote every four years. And particularly not for a lame democracy which lack any adequate practical protective mechanisms so that the citizens themselves can defend and protect democracy and justice from corruption, oligarchy and tyranny.
Real democracies are based on citizens, not on governments or elections. All the republics in human history after ancient Athens might have begun on pure actual democratic fundamentals, but none of them stayed in those longer than a few years. Unnecessary compromises and illegal pressure from the European financial elite and their “leftovers” from the tyrannic periods, lead to very wide and unnecessary gaps between written constitutions and relevant practicalities and mechanisms in order to execute the content of such constitutions. And actually, that’s the only time where the title, elected official, have any real meaning. When he ensures that the voted democratic constitution is followed by practiced principles and the citizen’s vote makes sense.
In a citizens voted democratic constitution (the only constitution that actually can be called democratic) the citizen is the only constituent, thus the employer of the elected official and therefore the only one that can elect or recall him. If we cant make even that work in our modern and allegedly developed societies, then we must accept that we can’t even re-achieve what the ancient Athenians had achieved. That is also why we seem to move back towards the times of self announced demigods and god-kings with serfs and slaves.
I don’t mean in any way that the ancient Athenian democracy, in its ancient form, is the answer to all our problems today. Of course not. It would need renewal and development according to modern conditions and it would also need to be restarted, but this time with all its original basic values and principles intact and practiced and not crippled and ignored. In essence, none of the attempts for democracy in history so far has managed to actually further develop it from its classic Athenian fundamentals, to something better. Instead, those who should have protected it ended up limiting and crippling it to the point where it can’t really be called a democracy at all anymore.
My cultural, ideological roots are in the original class-struggles and workers solidarity movements in the west and the resistance and liberation struggles against fascism and nazism in Greece, in which several very close family members of mine actively participated in. After the obvious neo-liberalization of the European “left” in the mid-80’s and its submissive compromises and its surrender of its basic values and principles in the 90’s, I found serious reasons to support the pure laocratic form of democracy [Gr. laos, λαός = the people]. The direct form, through self-governance and the satisfaction of the common and real needs. This is how a people who wants to be free either establishes or reestablishes real democracy.
Laocracy, is the “midwife” of the classic democratic principles:
- that the Greek people has claimed since The Battle of Salamis,and always practiced in its own communities, allover the world
- that the freedom fighters and the Greek people in the Greek Liberation War against the Ottoman Empire strived for and had practiced in secrecy within their own communities during 400 years of Ottoman rule
- that the Greek resistance fighters in EAM/ELAS and the vast majority of the people reached for (and practiced in the EAM-controlled city parts, islands and mountain regions during 1940 – 1944)
The bitter truth is that the most poisonous WWII-remnant, the left – right dogma, has divided us as fellow citizens and made us competitors and antagonists in a social-economic game that never benefit the citizen, as an entity.
Such division-doctrines should be long gone in a developed, modern, critical mind. It is a divide & conquer pill that works extremely good as the main filter against rational observations and it makes us very, very vulnerable to manipulation and aggression. The dogmatic theologies of the religions are other extremely effective main filters against reason. We have all been deeply manipulated in our minds to raise intellectual walls and in particular emotional walls between the so called left and the so called right. This way, a people becomes practically defenseless against further division, provocations, civil wars and invasion wars.
I and a growing number of Greeks, prefer to see the citizens, the party-members and the elected officials in the alleged democracies, as either “real democrats” or “oligarchy-servants”. Which oligarchy they serve is not always determined by the color of a pin on the lapel or a political party’s flag. Their very own ways, motives, aims and personal desires, determine that, and of course who or what really benefits from their words, signatures and actions. In our days both these types exists in all political parties and the “oligarchy-servants” are the ones dominating the scene the higher up you go in the political party hierarchies, at least from WWI and on.
I am not saying that we should abandon our different values, beliefs, ideologies and life philosophies or not hold them dear. I am just saying that we must first save the actual place, about which we then could agree or disagree on how to handle and govern. That is the right order of priorities to any real democrat, because he understands what a free human is and that there is no such thing as a free human without a free, democratic nation-state from which you can defend or claim freedom. Athenians in ancient times understood that. The French just before and during the first few years of the revolution understood that and so did the Americans just a few years around their revolution. The Republicans in The Spanish Civil War understood that. EAM the massive Greek resistance during WWII understood that and so did those who opposed and resisted the cruel dictatorships in Greece, Spain, Latin-America and Southeast Asia in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The Vietnamese FNL understood that and any people who have felt and seen the ultimate weakness and vulnerability of the oppressor when he is confronted by a united, determined people, understands that.
I felt obliged to clarify this here, given the big span of mental abilities and ‘moods’, this site is confronting in social medias and forums. I therefore clarify its name, views, values and ‘look’ here, hoping it will serve as a good introduction for this site in general.
The true nature of Syriza has been seldom examined and explained. To the foreign media it is no more than “leftist” or “far left” or “hardline” – the usual misleading spray. Some of Syriza’s international supporters have reached, at times, levels of cheer leading reminiscent of the rise of Barack Obama. Few have asked: Who are these “radicals”? What do they believe in?
An historic betrayal has consumed Greece. Having set aside the mandate of the Greek electorate, the Syriza government has willfully ignored last week’s landslide “No” vote and secretly agreed a raft of repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the world.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has pushed through parliament a proposal to cut at least 13 billion euros from the public purse – 4 billion euros more than the “austerity” figure rejected overwhelmingly by the majority of the Greek population in a referendum on 5 July.
These reportedly include a 50 per cent increase in the cost of healthcare for pensioners, almost 40 per cent of whom live in poverty; deep cuts in public sector wages; the complete privatization of public facilities such as airports and ports; a rise in value added tax to 23 per cent, now applied to the Greek islands where people struggle to eke out a living. There is more to come.
“Anti-austerity party sweeps to stunning victory”, declared a Guardian headline on January 25. “Radical leftists” the paper called Tsipras and his impressively-educated comrades. They wore open neck shirts, and the finance minister rode a motorbike and was described as a “rock star of economics”. It was a façade. They were not radical in any sense of that cliched label, neither were they “anti austerity”.
For six months Tsipras and the recently discarded finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, shuttled between Athens and Brussels, Berlin and the other centres of European money power. Instead of social justice for Greece, they achieved a new indebtedness, a deeper impoverishment that would merely replace a systemic rottenness based on the theft of tax revenue by the Greek super-wealthy – in accordance with European “neo-liberal” values – and cheap, highly profitable loans from those now seeking Greece’s scalp.
Greece’s debt, reports an audit by the Greek parliament, “is illegal, illegitimate and odious”. Proportionally, it is less than 30 per cent that of the debit of Germany, its major creditor. It is less than the debt of European banks whose “bailout” in 2007-8 was barely controversial and unpunished.
For a small country such as Greece, the euro is a colonial currency: a tether to a capitalist ideology so extreme that even the Pope pronounces it “intolerable” and “the dung of the devil”. The euro is to Greece what the US dollar is to remote territories in the Pacific, whose poverty and servility is guaranteed by their dependency.
In their travels to the court of the mighty in Brussels and Berlin, Tsipras and Varoufakis presented themselves neither as radicals nor “leftists” nor even honest social democrats, but as two slightly upstart supplicants in their pleas and demands. Without underestimating the hostility they faced, it is fair to say they displayed no political courage. More than once, the Greek people found out about their “secret austerity plans” in leaks to the media: such as a 30 June letter published in the Financial Times, in which Tsipras promised the heads of the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF to accept their basic, most vicious demands – which he has now accepted.
When the Greek electorate voted “no” on 5 July to this very kind of rotten deal, Tsipras said, “Come Monday and the Greek government will be at the negotiating table after the referendum with better terms for the Greek people”. Greeks had not voted for “better terms”. They had voted for justice and for sovereignty, as they had done on January 25.
The day after the January election a truly democratic and, yes, radical government would have stopped every euro leaving the country, repudiated the “illegal and odious” debt – as Argentina did successfully – and expedited a plan to leave the crippling Eurozone. But there was no plan. There was only a willingness to be “at the table” seeking “better terms”.
The true nature of Syriza has been seldom examined and explained. To the foreign media it is no more than “leftist” or “far left” or “hardline” – the usual misleading spray. Some of Syriza’s international supporters have reached, at times, levels of cheer leading reminiscent of the rise of Barack Obama. Few have asked: Who are these “radicals”? What do they believe in?
In 2013, Yanis Varoufakis wrote: “Should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an opportunity to replace it with a better system? Or should we be so worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising capitalism? To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism… I bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated… Yes, I would love to put forward [a] radical agenda. But, no, I am not prepared to commit the [error of the British Labour Party following Thatcher’s victory]… What good did we achieve in Britain in the early 1980s by promoting an agenda of socialist change that British society scorned while falling headlong into Thatcher’s neoliberal trip? Precisely none. What good will it do today to call for a dismantling of the Eurozone, of the European Union itself…?”
Varoufakis omits all mention of the Social Democratic Party that split the Labour vote and led to Blairism. In suggesting people in Britain “scorned socialist change” – when they were given no real opportunity to bring about that change – he echoes Blair.
The leaders of Syriza are revolutionaries of a kind – but their revolution is the perverse, familiar appropriation of social democratic and parliamentary movements by liberals groomed to comply with neo-liberal drivel and a social engineering whose authentic face is that of Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s finance minister, an imperial thug. Like the Labour Party in Britain and its equivalents among former social democratic parties such as the Labor Party in Australia, still describing themselves as “liberal” or even “left”, Syriza is the product of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, “schooled in postmodernism”, as Alex Lantier wrote.
For them, class is the unmentionable, let alone an enduring struggle, regardless of the reality of the lives of most human beings. Syriza’s luminaries are well-groomed; they lead not the resistance that ordinary people crave, as the Greek electorate has so bravely demonstrated, but “better terms” of a venal status quo that corrals and punishes the poor. When merged with “identity politics” and its insidious distractions, the consequence is not resistance, but subservience. “Mainstream” political life in Britain exemplifies this.
This is not inevitable, a done deal, if we wake up from the long, postmodern coma and reject the myths and deceptions of those who claim to represent us, and fight.
The Greek debt, as such, is mostly not Greek debt. The debt which Germany and other nations are demanding that they pay for, is money that the Greeks never got! So the Greeks don’t owe that money. This was a swindle, because the Greeks didn’t incur that debt.
Lyndon LaRouche, Feb. 17, 2015
What Americans need to know about Greece and “its debt,” is that the new Greek government is asking the European Union to shut down a huge Wall Street-London bank swindle and make economic growth possible again in Europe.
If that doesn’t happen, the worsening bankruptcy of the whole trans-Atlantic banking system will continue to generate desperate confrontations with major powers Russia and China, with the threat of world war.
The rest of Europe, so far, is refusing to shut that Wall Street swindle down, and today Obama’s Treasury Secretary Jack Lew backed up that refusal, including by a threatening phone call to the Greek finance minister.
What Obama, Merkel, et al. are demanding Greece do, instead of shutting down this Europe-wide swindle by the banks, is run a budget surplus of 4.5% of its annual economy, exclusively to pay the “Greek debt.” In U.S. terms? That would mean the United States running a government tax surplus of $750 billion a year, in order to pay down debt. You won’t hear Obama or Lew volunteering to try it; it is impossible.
The “Greek debt” swindle is the same one as the TARP bailout here, and the Federal Reserve’s printing of $4 trillion in new money to cover Wall Street’s debts; and its perpetrators are the same huge banks.
In the United States, the big banks took millions of subprime, unrepayable mortgages sold by their captive mortgage companies, and made them into toxic securities which blew up the financial system and the whole economy in 2008; the government bailed them out, while our living standards plunged.
In Europe, the banks bought the mortgage securities from the U.S. banks. At the same time they made millions of unrepayable subprime loans of their own — not only to homeowners, but also to governments without the means to repay them, like those of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Hungary, and others. Big Wall Street banks were involved, particularly Goldman Sachs, which created “magic” derivatives: Take a bank loan to Greece, make it look like a mere “currency swap” rather than a debt — but turn it into a much bigger debt ten years later.
All this European subprime debt blew up on the big banks in 2009, a year after the U.S. subprime debt blew up on them. Then the European governments allsuperindebted themselves, to create a $1 trillion “European TARP” called by the initials EFSF. They bailed the megabanks out, with the IMF pitching in, using “only” about $600 billion to pay the unpayable “subprime government debt” part of it. $275 billion paid “Greek debt.”
This immense bank bailout got passed through the Greek, Irish, etc. governments, which passed it immediately on to the banks which had been their “subprime lenders.”
We have to spill this thing as a leading issue in the U.S. You can sink Wall Street on this one. If you sink the Greek swindle, you’re going to start a chain-reaction explosion of the international trans-Atlantic system, like the Wall Street system and similar things, the British andothers. They are the ones who owe the debt, not the Greeks.
The Greek debt swindle was classic. In 2009 Greece’s debt was $300 billion. It then “got” two huge bailouts in 2010 and 2012, of about $140 billion each. Less than 10% of that $275 billion stayed in Greece and was spent by the Greek government; more than 90% went directly and immediately to Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, and their fellow sharks, with small amounts crumbling to the hedge funds swimming alongside. Former Greek Labor and Social Security Minister Louka Katseli has given documentation that the Greek government actually got to spend or invest just 3% of that $275 billion. The only banks which had to write off their “Greek debt” were Greek banks; all of Wall Street and the London-centered banks got their toxic debt “assets” guaranteed 100% by this European bailout swindle. This made the Greek banks so bankrupt that the Greek government then had to borrow more to bail them out with $50 billion — so Greece’s debt was increased when supposedly being reduced! A total swindle!
Then, between 2010 and today, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc. were ordered to pay the bill for this huge new Europe-wide bank bailout debt. They imposed a slashing domestic austerity until their people emigrated, death rates rose and birth rates fell, and clouds of wood smoke rose over modern cities whose inhabitants could no longer afford modern heat. After five years of this punishment, Greece’s $300 billion debt has become $350 billion or so — after $250 billion passed through to the banks!
And the other European countries are also on the hook for this phony debt, all of it. They guaranteed it; Greece and Ireland and the other austerity-crushed countries can’t pay it, so the rest of Europe must either agree to reorganize that debt and write it down, or their taxpayers will pay for the swindle.
This is why the new Greek government now demands that Europe shut down this global bank swindle: Write off the unpayable debt; invest in reviving economic productivity by building new economic infrastructure.
In addition, the megabanks have to be put through a Glass-Steagall reorganization and broken up.
To which Lyndon LaRouche has added:
“This thing has to be put loud and clear on every doorstep in the United States. If you want to avoid World War III, that’s what you’ll do.”
Meanwhile, in Ukraine, after the forces of the fascist Kiev regime fled under fire today from encircled Debaltsevo, an actual ceasefire is now in effect, however fragile, and heavy weapons are being withdrawn from the front lines by both sides, as agreed by the leaders of the French, German, Ukrainian, and Russian governments at Minsk last week. To make it an enduring ceasefire, all we need do now, is immediately remove Nazi Victoria Nuland from the State Department.
Under circumstances of a quasi-world crash of financial markets, the government submitted to the European Stability Mechanism for re-financing. Requesting a new debt for the old. With this application, the country most directly subordinate to the permanent mechanism for controlled bankruptcy and dissolution.
The ESM is not something simple. It is a controlled bankruptcy institution based in Luxembourg for the eurozone countries that are unable to cope with their debts. The Treaty on the ESM is but one debt treaty to protect the euro. The board and the CEO have ultimate authority over the Member States must comply “unconditionally and irrevocably” as defined in the verbatim Treaty establishing the ESM. In essence it is about the set up of an uncontrolled organization based in Luxembourg that is not subject to any control and no authority, legal or other form.
Let’s see what is foreseen under the Establishing Treaty on the ESM. Succinctly with Article 32 par. 2 of the Treaty: “The ESM has full legal personality and has full legal capacity:
a) to acquire and dispose of movable and immovable property,
b) to contract,
c) to institute legal proceedings and
d) to conclude an agreement and / or protocols for the seat as necessary, to ensure the recognition and enforcement of the legal status and privileges and immunities. ”
The par. 3 of the same article states: “The ESM, real estate, its resources and its assets, regardless of location and owner, shall be immune from any form of legal proceedings, unless the ESM expressly waive its immunity for the purposes of any procedure, under the terms of any contract, including documentation of financial instruments.”
The par. 4 of the same article states: “The property, funds and assets of the ESM, regardless of location and holder, be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation or any other form of seizure, removal or detention under executive , judicial, administrative or legislative measures. ”
The par. 5 and 6 of the same article states: “The archives of the ESM and all documents belonging to the ESM or held to be inviolable. The premises of the ESM’s facilities shall be inviolable.”
While par. 8 and 9 of the same article states: “To the extent necessary for the performance of activities provided for in this Treaty, all property, funds and assets of the ESM shall not be subject to any restriction, regulation , control and moratoria of any nature. The ESM is exempted from any authorization or licensing obligation as a credit institution, investment services provider or other official licensed or regulated entity under the laws of each member of the ESM. ”
In fact Article 32 par. 8 of the Treaty establishing the ESM out: “To the extent necessary for the performance of activities provided for in this Treaty, all property, funds and assets of the ESM shall not be subject to any restrictions, regulation, control and moratoria of any nature. ”
In other words, the loans and the guarantees will be distracted by the ESM from the Member State which is under the tutelage of “not subject to any restriction, regulation, control and moratoria of any nature.” And so the debtor Member State is bound to suffer that decided in absentia without even the right to negotiate in order to supposedly achieve any restrictions, regulations, controls and moratoria in how the lending by the ESM will take place.
What happens when the ESM shall authorize the opening of a new financing program for Greece? Then drawn up “with the member of ESM memorandum of understanding (” MK “) describing in detail the conditions to be attached to facilitate financial assistance. The content of the MK reflects the weaknesses to be addressed and the financial assistance instrument chosen. “(Article 13, par. 3) Therefore any new funding must be accompanied by a” Memorandum of Understanding “, such as those imposed on us until today.
The new is that the “MK [Memorandum of Understanding] is fully consistent with the provisions for coordination of economic policies provided for in the TFEU [Operation Treaty on European Union], especially any acts of European Union law, including any opinion, warning, recommendation or a decision addressed to the ESM Member concerned. “(in the same article) that this time the Memorandum is a bilateral agreement with the state in funding, such as Greece, the result of a specific loan agreement. It falls to the TFEU and EU law.
What does this mean; It means that the application of the Memorandum is not something separate from our country’s participation in the “European integration” and therefore compliance with the memorandum, included in Article 28 of the Constitution “provides for restrictions on the exercise of national sovereignty,” to facilitate “participation of the Country in European integration,” as expressly mentioned in the explanatory statement of this article.
That is why the ‘European Commission signs the MK on behalf of the ESM “(par. 4), and also the’ European Commission – in cooperation with the ECB and wherever possible, together with the IMF – made responsible for monitoring the compliance with the conditions attached to the financial assistance facility. “(para. 5).
In other words the Member State that borrows directly from the ESM loses not only its national sovereignty, but its very state of existence. The government must “unconditionally and irrevocably” follow exactly what the European Commission and the Governing Board of the ESM decides. In other words, with our accession to the ESM, as the country Greece we are finished. We are converted into a plot in a liquidation mechanism. And all this with the left in government.
Posted by Dimitris Kazakis at 12:29 am
Translated by Kosmas Loumakis
4 days after the Greek people’s resounding “NO to the continuation of negotiations with the EU / ECB on the Greek people’s expense”, the Greek government yesterday announced that they will apply that Greece be incorporated in the super state EMS “help activities” so therefore in practice it cease to exist as an independent and sovereign nation. That is how Tsipras and the European Goebbels media interpreted the Greek people’s NO last Sunday. The ESM is a supranational organization, which was inaugurated October 8, 2012 and which as a legal entity in principle have the same rights as an independent state.
The masks have really fallen and now all of Greece sees who is really who, and that it only is two sides that actually exist in this ugly game and on the Greek people’s expense. Actually on all the European peoples expense, and with democracy shackled to both hands and feet. The people of Greece are not divided due to the referendum as the media mean. On the contrary, the Greeks are a more united people than ever, and the poisonous civil war doctrine, the left-right politics, begin to blur and instead people increasingly judge persons and behaviour under the parameters Democrat or anti-Democrat and of Greece and the Greek people’s best or banks and the business elite’s best. These exist in all parties (though quite thin on “democrats” in the Golden Dawn presumably).
“One should be quite clear with the fact that the only two real parties in this ugly pan-European game is the EU oligarchs and their serving-governments with their “diabolical” propaganda apparatus on the one hand, and the European nations, excluded its financial, business and political elite, on the other side.” I wrote this a few days ago and this truth is good to keep fresh in mind during the coming weeks “EU’s play”.
When will people really start to wonder when the hell all these super organizations was passed? When was the Europeans informed adequately on this? Did they have their say in this context? How many know today what the ESM really is?
Quick video explanation what the ESM actually is:
Introduction: Over the past decade fundamental changes have taken place in Southern Europe, which have broken with previous political alignments, resulting in the virtual disappearance of traditional leftist ’parties, the decline of trade unions and the emergence of ‘middle class radicalism’.
New political movements, purportedly on the left, no longer are based on class conscious workers nor are they embedded in the class struggle. Likewise on the right, greater attention is paid to escalating the repressive capacity of the state instead of state intervention in pursuit of economic markets.
Radicalization of the right, including massive cutbacks in social spending, has demolished welfare programs. The dispossession of households has uprooted cohesive neighborhood-based social organizations.
In place of the class based traditional left, ‘non-leftist left’ movements have emerged. Their leaders embrace ‘participatory democracy’ but engage in vertical political practice.
On the right, politics no longer revolve around conserving national economic privileges. Rightwing leaders willingly subordinate their economies and society to imperial led crusades, which empty national sovereignty of any meaning while pillaging the national treasury.
This essay will proceed to discuss these complex changes and their meaning.
The ‘Non-Leftist Left’ in Southern Europe
The economic crisis, in particular the imposition of severe cuts in wages, pensions and other social welfare programs by rightwing and social democratic governments have led to widespread discontent, which the traditional workplace based leftist parties have been unable to address and mobilize the people. Prolonged and deepening unemployment and the growth of temporary employment have affected over 50% of the labor force.
Union representation has declined precipitously, further weakening the presence of traditional leftist parties in factories.
Large-scale evictions, foreclosure of mortgages and accompanying job losses have led to neighborhood-based anti-eviction movements and struggles. Millions of young workers now depend on their grandparents’ pensions and remain with two older generations in their parents’ home. For the young workers, the degradation of everyday life, the loss of personal autonomy and the inability to live independently have led to revolts for ‘dignity’.
The traditional left parties and trade unions have failed (or not attempted) to organize the unemployed. They have failed to attract the young and the downwardly mobile temporary workers in anything resembling class-based, class struggle-oriented movements.
Paradoxically despite the deepening crisis among most workers, the traditional left has declined. Its workplace orientation and its language of class struggle do not resonate with those without jobs or prospects. For the radicalized middle class the traditional left is too radical in seeking to overturn capitalism and too distant from power to realize changes.
The radicalized middle class includes public employees, professionals and self-employed private contractors who aspire to, and until recently, experienced upward mobility but have now found their path blocked by the austerity programs imposed by rightwing, as well as, social democratic parties.
Frustrated by the social democrats’ betrayal and facing downward mobility, the radicalized middle class are disoriented and fragmented. Many have joined amorphous street protests; some have even embraced, temporarily in most cases, the alternative traditional rightwing parties only to encounter even more brutal job cuts, insecurity and downward mobility.
The middle classes deeply resent being denied the opportunity for upward mobility for themselves and their children. They resent their formerly ‘moderately progressive’ Social Democratic leaders’ betrayal of their interests. Their radicalism is directed toward restoring their past access to social advancement. Their deep-seated hostility to the authorities is rooted in the loss of their previous status as a result of the crisis.
Middle class radicalism is tempered by nostalgia for the past. This radicalism is rooted in the struggle to restore the European Union’s social subsidies and growth policies. They remember a recent past of rising living standards and “social inclusion”, now denied their own children. This vision guides the rhetoric that the progressive middle class had earned and enjoyed theirrising incomes as a result of their own ‘merit’.
Today the radicalized middle class looks for practical, specifically defined and government-sponsored policies that can restore their past prosperity. They do not aim to ‘level the playing field’ for everyone but to prevent their proletariazation. They reject the politics of the traditional left parties because class struggle and worker-centered ideologies do not promote their own social aspirations.
For most radicalized middle class activists the culprits are ‘austerity’, the mega-bank swindlers and the political kleptocrats. They seek parties that can reform or moralize capitalism and restore ‘individual dignity’. They want to kick out corrupt officials. They demand ‘participatory democracy’ rather than the traditional left’s goal of public ownership under worker control.
Under the specific conditions generated by the current social crisis, a non-leftist left (NLL) has emerged throughout Europe. Spontaneous, amorphous, ‘anarchic’, extra-institutional and ‘street-centered’, the NLL has adopted an irreverent style. The NLL, in its origins, rejected political parties, well-defined programs and disciplined cadres in favor of spontaneity and irreverence toward institutions.
As the appeal of the NLL grew, the unemployed, the temporary workers, the insecure and unprotected non-unionized workers and the radicalized middle class joined demonstrations and found safety in the crowds. They were attracted by the appeals from ‘the street’ to oust the incumbent kleptocrats.
Emerging from this movement aimed at the downwardly mobile middle class’ anger, Podemosin Spain, Syriza in Greece and Five Stars in Italy have appealed to all the people disconnected from power, by promising a restoration of ‘dignity and respect.’ They made amorphous appeals to ‘end austerity’ with only a vague promise that they would create jobs.
The NLL leadership, however, is most clearly influenced by the non-radical resentments of the downwardly mobile middle class.
They never engaged in class struggles and have rejected class ideology. For the NLL leaders, social polarization is mostly a vehicle for building an electoral base. Their participation in small-scale local struggles was presented as ‘proof’ that the NLL leaders spoke to authentic popular aspirations.
The Non-Leftist Left’s Transition: From Street to Public Office
From the street, the NLL moved swiftly to elections and from elections they proceeded to form coalitions with traditional parties. Strategic decisions were taken by a small coterie of personalistic leaders: They redefined ‘participatory democracy’ to refer only to local neighborhood activism and issues – not national issues, which were the realm of ‘experts’.
Syriza, the first NLL to reach power, reflected the immense gap between the radical posturingof its leaders in opposition and their cringing conformity before Established Power (the Troika: IMF, European Commission, Central Bank) once elected to government.
Syriza embodied middle class resentment toward the Euro-technocratic elite in Brussels whom they blamed for their loss of past prosperity and job security and for the ongoing degradation of everyday life. Syriza denounced the Troika while it remained under its tutelage. It excoriatedthe EU elite in the highest moral tones for doing what its elite class interests dictated, that is, defend the EU bankers, extract debt payments and threaten their underlings. In practice,Syriza never applied any class analysis to the Troika’s policy as it continued to refer to their ‘EU partners’. ..even as they imposed brutall demands.
Once in power the Syriza leaders never mobilized a single mass protest and never even threatened a general strike in the face of EU colonial dictates.
Syriza’s personalist leader, Alexis Tsipra,s appointed right wingers from former regimes to key posts. He negotiated with the Troika and caved on all strategic issues dealing with debt payments, austerity and privatizations. Syriza never considered ‘going to the people’. Syriza’s‘moral crusade’ against capitalism ended by their embracing capitalism and the colonial Eurozone system.
Syriza’s lack of class analysis, class struggle and class mobilization and its total commitment to working within a moralized capitalism and the Eurozone to restore middle class status and security has resulted in the most abject conformity and surrender – punctuated by shameless buffoonery on the part of some leaders.
In the end, Syriza surrendered to the dictates of higher powers of the Troika ad their Eurozone acolytes, but not until it had emptied the Greek Treasury. The leaders have combined the worst of all worlds: a bankrupt national economy, a ‘protesting’ but fundamentally colonial regime and a disenchanted electorate.
Where Syriza wildly succeeded was in marginalizing the traditional left (the Greek Communist Party). It reaffirmed the historic pattern: free floating movements of the moment end up being run by personalistic leaders who presume to speak for “the people” while bending over to their overseas overlords.
NLL in Spain and Italy: Podemos and Five Stars
Podemos in Spain and Five Stars in Italy are ready to follow Syriza’s path of colonial subservience. They rejected and successfully marginalized the traditional left. They have gained mass support, organized mass protests and loudly rejected austerity and the dictates of the Troika.
While Podemos leaders talk of ‘participatory democracy’, a handful of leaders make all policy pronouncements, decide which candidates to support in the elections and determine what kind of post-election coalition governments they will join.
What gives Podemos and Five Stars their radical appearance is their opposition to the governing parties, their rejection of ‘austerity’, their criticism of neoliberalism – and their support for ‘micro-politics’ of local grassroots direct-action.
At no time or place have they counterpoised an alternative to capitalism. Nor have they repudiated illicit debts or supported the expropriation of the banks responsible for the pillage their economies.
Podemos and Five Stars deliberately obscure their politics: They are whatever any of their affiliates’ claim to be…
The leaders raise populist demands and speak about ‘dignity’, employment and punishment of corrupt officials. They call for an end to authoritarian measures, but avoid any real commitments to institutional change, especially of the repressive courts, police or armed forces.
Podemos and Five Stars criticize the EU’s austerity programs while staying in the EU as subordinate members of an organization dominated by German bankers. They promote popular mobilizations which they have turned into vote-gathering machines for electing their members to office.
The NLLs contradictory politics of populist gestures and institutional commitments reflect the politics of a frustrated and blocked middle class demanding a restoration of its past status and security. Podemos and Five Stars leaders put on the grand show of thumbing their noses at the establishment to promote limited middle class demands. On a much broader front, the leaders of the NLL have not organized any mass protests – let alone formed a mass movement which would seriously challenge the imperialist powers, NATO, the Middle East wars and US-EU sanctions against Russia.
Since most of their supporters are anti NATO, in favor of Palestinian independence and critical of the Kiev regime the popular base of the NLL will act on their own but will have no real impact on the current national leadership.
The reason for the disparity between leaders and followers is clear: The NLL leaders intend to form post-electoral coalitions with the corrupt and reactionary ‘center left’ parties so despised and rejected by their own electorate.
Following the nationwide Spanish municipal and regional elections, Podemos allied with corrupt Socialist Party (PSOE). In the municipality of Madrid, Podemos supported the left-center coalition Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now), which in turn has allied with the center-right Socialists to elect the ‘progressive’ mayoral candidate, Manuela Carmena.
While the entire ‘progressive camp’ celebrates the defeat of the hard-right Popular Party candidate –little has been said about consequential changes in the municipal and regional budgets, structures of economic power and class relations.
‘Five Stars’,( Movimento Cinque Stelle or M5S), Italy’s non-leftist left is dominated by a single ‘anti-leader’, Beppe Grillo, he defines the party’s programs and affiliations. He is known for making clownish, provocative gestures against the authorities, calling for a “Fuck the Parliament Day”.
It is Beppe who selects the candidates to run for Parliament. While in opposition, M5S loudly opposed all NATO wars in the Middle East, US military interventions in Latin America and free trade agreements. But now ensconced in the European Parliament, Beppe has aligned with the Libertarian Right.
Five Stars (M5S) central demands revolve around ‘direct democracy’ and ‘sustainable development’. It has captured the electoral support of the majority of the lower middle classgaining 26% of the vote (9 million voters) in the 2013 general elections.
While Beppe and his colleagues engage in fist fights within the Parliament, make radical gestures and spout belligerent rhetoric, ‘M5S’ has not supported a workers general strike. It participates in each and every election, but has stayed away from factory struggles.
Radicalism, as grand ‘gesture politics’, is an entertaining, non-threatening response to capitalism since there is no concerted effort to form class alliances with workers engaged in workplace struggles.
‘M5S’, like Podemos and Syriza, expresses the disorganized radicalism of the young, frustrated lower middle class raging against their downward mobility, while refusing to breakwith the EU .They rail against the concentration of power in the hands of the banks, but refuse to pursue their nationalization. M5S mobilized 800,000 people in Rome recently but led them nowhere. ‘Five Stars’ convokes crowds to meet and cheer its leaders and to ridicule the power brokers. Afterwards they all go home.
While the ‘NLL’ movements capture the support of the ‘indignant’, the mass of unemployed workers and the evicted householders, their leaders do not articulate a serious plan of action capable of challenging the economic power structures: they raise popular expectations via demands for ‘change’. However, these vague and deceptive slogans allow the NLL leaders to join in a medley of opportunist electoral coalitions and governmental alliances, with decidedly establishment personalities and parties.
In Greece, Italy and Spain the traditional left has either disappeared, or shrunk to a marginal force. With little or no base outside of the workplace and trade unions, they barely secure five percent of the votes.
The NLL has deepened the isolation of the traditional left and has even attracted a part of its social base. NLL’s rejection of the traditional left’s tight organization and top down leadership and its pluralistic rhetoric appeals to the young. Moreover, as the left trade unions have sought compromises with the bosses to save the jobs of employed workers and ignored the unemployed, the latter has looked to the ‘open and spontaneous’ NLL to express their opposition. In Spain’s municipal elections, the United Left, a Communist-led electoral formation, joined with Podemos to elect Manuela Carmena, the ‘insurgent mayor’ of Madrid.
While the Euro-US academic left has rightly celebrated the emergence of mass opposition to the rightist regimes in Southern Europe, they have failed to understand the internal dynamicswithin the NLL movements: the limitations of middle class radicalism and their conformists’ goals.
The example of Syriza in Greece is a warning of the fatal consequences of middle class leaders trying to realize radical changes, within the neo-liberal framework imposed by the EU.
Currently, the best example of the opportunism and bankruptcy of the NLL is found in the successful Mayor-elect of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, whose victory was hailed by Podemos as the ‘great victory for the people’ at recent celebration.
For her part, Mayor-elect Carmena has wasted no time repudiating all ‘five basic emergency reforms’ promised during the elections. In a press conference, the so-called ‘progressive Mayor of Madrid’ announced (with a cynical grin) that ‘promise number one’ – a public bank – was no longer needed because she was satisfied to work with the private banking oligarchy. She refused to pursue ‘promise number two’ – to provide subsidies for electricity, water and gas for poor families cut off from those services, claiming such support was too early and could wait until winter
Regarding Podemos ‘promise number three’ – a debt moratorium, Carmena insisted that “we will keep paying, for now”. On ‘promise number four’ favoring public over private contractors for municipal contracts, Carmena reversed the position: “We can’t change right away”.
Carmena even repudiated ‘promise number five’ – to immediately implement a summer meals program for poor children, insisting that she would rely on the inadequate programs of far right predecessor.
Moreover, Mayor-elect Carmena went even further, staffing her administration with far-right holdovers from the previous government to strategic policy-making positions. For example, sheappointed Carmen Roman, a former Director General of the far right Prime Minister Aznar, as Senior Executive of Madrid. She defended these reactionary decisions claiming that she was looking for “technocrats who are the best professional administrations”. Indeed, Carmen Roman had implemented mass firing of public workers and the dismantling of social programs in the ‘best professional’ manner possible!
Carmena further betrayed her Podemos electorate by insisting she looked forward to working with the hard right Prime Minister Rajoy and flatly rejected the idea of promoting a progressive alternative!
In less than one week, the euphoria over the victory of Podemos backed candidates has been dissipated by these acts of cynical opportunism: the non-leftist left has betrayed its electorate, from the very start!